NAME: Kyle Hamilton
HEIGHT: 6′ 4″
WEIGHT: 220 lbs
SCHOOL: Notre Dame
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA
Started all 13 games as a freshman and was named to the The Athletic Freshman All-American team. During his sophomore season he progressed even further, playing 2 fewer games but still recording an INT and 22 more tackles than the previous year. He was a Bednarik Award semi-finalist, AP First Team All-ACC, All-ACC First Team, and FWAA All-America First Team, among others, as a result of these performances. In 2021 to date, he is on pace to post career high stats with 3 INTs, 2 TFLs, and 32 tackles in 6 games. His star performance in 2021 was against Florida State, where he recorded 2 INTs in the same game.
Speed and Lateral Quickness
Hamilton has insane speed, which allows him to cover lots of ground from his FS position. He does well to keep depth and then demonstrates his lateral quickness to fly from one sideline to the other. Notre Dame has asked him to rotate into deep middle from a hook-curl zone, further proof of his lateral quickness.
Hamilton is quite strong for his wiry frame. He has really good lower body strength which he uses for hitting hard and propelling himself across the field. Adequate upper body strength combined means he is a dominant defender.
Change of Direction
Absolutely fluid hips combined with his speed means he can reach any WR very quickly. No one else close to him in terms of how smooth he turns from one direction to another – never a jerky movement and doesn’t have to slow down a lot to change direction.
Tackling and Pursuit
Makes the vast majority of his tackles, a couple of frustrating misses where he dived when he could’ve got a step closer to the player and made a dominant hit, but tackles strong and always takes the best pursuit angles. Reads body angle of teammates well, and shoots in front or behind them in the right position to make the tackle.
He times blitzes really well and managed to record a couple of QB hits by coming off the ball so quickly and beating the OL – good reps of inside delayed blitzes and also off the boundary sideline to beat the tackle.
In zone coverage he plays superbly well and it is his main responsibility on any given rep. Because he gets depth so well from pedal technique, he keeps everything in front of him and therefore knows when to latch onto a WR and take away an option for the QB. In man coverage, he uses his hands nicely on the WR to get a feel of where they will break and the hip fluidity he has allows him to stick to the receiver in very tight coverage.
Diagnoses whether the play is a run or pass much quicker than almost all the other safeties I have watched in the last couple of years. The way he recognizes concepts appearing in front of him allows the confidence to jump certain routes without blowing his coverage.
Linked to that football IQ, he has a great feel for when he should be in a certain spot on the field to be able to make a play – a great example was the Florida State game where he ran across half the field to cover a route and got there for the INT.
Kyle Hamilton is undoubtedly one of the best players in the 2022 NFL Draft, his performances so far in 2021 have just consolidated his pre-season draft projections. He is one of the best safety prospects I have seen in recent years and any NFL team struggling in the secondary would do well to select Hamilton as a speedy, “rangy” free safety to make plays on the backend. He has lined up in the slot as well as FS which will appeal to GMs as versatility always does.
Final Grade: 90/95 – BLUE CHIP PROSPECT
NFL Comparison: Jeremy Chinn
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